Do you remember when your parents gave you The Talk? If you’re like a lot of other people, this memory probably stirs a mixture of feelings, including horror, amusement, and a healthy dose of embarrassment — which is perfectly understandable. After all, the birds-and-the-bees can be a minefield for parents and children alike, and in many ways, the awkwardness surrounding these conversations reveals just how important they are. Children need knowledge and all the tools they can muster to navigate adolescence and beyond. Without it, they face increased risks to their health and long-term wellbeing. By sharing their knowledge and perspective, parents help guide their children into adulthood with (hopefully) fewer bumps along the way.
As children and their parents age, however, this relationship begins to move in reverse. Many times, adult children must take over the role of guide as they help their own parents age. Which comes with its own unique minefields to navigate.
How to Have The Talk With Your Aging Parents
You may already recognize the signs. Your parent’s house is a mess. Important chores are left undone. Maybe they’re having a hard time getting up and down the stairs. Or, it could be any number of other things indicating your aging parents just aren’t thriving on their own. You know they’d benefit from some help around the house, which you’d like to help them arrange. But you’re worried about how they’ll react to the implication they can no longer care for themselves.
This is one example of The Talk adult children need to have with their aging parents. If not conducted with care and forethought, however, these conversations carry a high risk for misunderstanding and offense. So if you think it’s time to talk to your parents about their ability to live independently, here are a few things to remember:
Choose Your Words Carefully
This is good advice for almost any tough conversation, but it’s especially true in this instance. Your parents may react defensively if they believe you’re questioning their ability to take care of themselves. So with that in mind, you’ll need to choose your words carefully. Instead of focusing on what your parents are unable to do, talk instead about what you’d like to see for them. Specifically in this instance, you want your parents to have all the support they need to live independently in their own home for as long as possible.
Tell Them You Want to Add Something New to their Lives, Rather than Take Something Away
Initially, your parents may be concerned that you want to remove some kind of freedom from their lives. One example would be moving them out of their home and into an assisted living facility. Your goal in this conversation should be to show your parents that there are options for creating safety and independence within the current structure of their lives. You must also reassure them that their worlds will become larger — rather than smaller — by accepting the right kind of support in the home.
Get Some Outside Help
Of course, even perfectly chosen words may not always be effective. That’s why you might benefit from a little outside help. Parents often respond better to a caregiver than to their adult children — even if the message is exactly the same. So for this tough conversation, it might be wise to include a representative from a prospective in-home care agency who’ll provide a little added support. Ideally, they’ll bring with them plenty of first-hand experience and anecdotes that will help convince your parents that this change will be in their best interest.
Live in Arizona? Generations Home Care Can Help with The Talk
If you live in Arizona, Generations Home Care can help you have The Talk with your aging parents. Our experienced caregivers can share their perspective on the benefits of in-home care, and develop a customized plan that meets your parent’s exact needs. In many cases, seniors begin with more services and then back off if they find they’re not all needed. This allows caregivers and clients to fine-tune individual service plans and develop the perfect balance between support and independence. In our experience, clients are always relieved when they see the power of quality caregiving first-hand, and wonder how they ever got along without it.
Life is filled with awkward, intense, and emotional conversations. Telling your parents you’re worried they may not be able to care for themselves is certainly one of the most challenging. But, just as your parents helped guide you through the difficult (and embarrassing) transitions of aging, it’s now your opportunity to return the favor.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care offers personalized in-home care and support services to those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier and independent life.
Generations Home Care offers levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. We take a holistic approach and emphasize a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term postoperative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.